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Wayward Side :
How do I regain trust and ensure that I never fall back into this?

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 recoveringtogether (original poster new member #79578) posted at 3:08 PM on Tuesday, November 9th, 2021

TLDR

I love my partner beyond words, and am disgusted at myself for now emotionally cheating on him twice and physically once with different people over long periods of time. I know it sounds impossible that I could value our relationship so much and still do this, but it is the case. A year ago, I trickle-truth revealed my second EA and swore to never do anything like it again. He believed me, until two weeks ago he discovered and confronted me about an SA I had been engaging in for several months. He planned to break up with me but seeing my genuine remorse and forthcoming with all details is willing to help me work on myself and reconsider. I feel indescribably grateful for this opportunity. What can I do to prevent myself from ever doing this again and earn his trust? I am very aware of how deep of a problem I have and desperately want to improve myself.

My current plans involve posting here, therapy in a month once my schedule allows, reading How to Help your spouse heal from an affair (any other recs?), being super transparent (mentioning where I am going, anytime I am in contact w a guy), and potentially phone monitoring (I’m very open to it, logistically don’t know how to). He currently has access to my Google account and my social media accounts, we were considering doing a full monitoring system but unsure how.

Our Relationship

I’ve been with my partner for nearly four years, and though we have had some challenging times, our relationship is overwhelmingly positive and loving. What we treasure most in our relationship is our shared passion for ideas, our communication, our frequent multi-hour conversations that we both find fascinating, etc. Although we are not married, our lives are merged in many ways- we share our finances, we spend every night together, we cook for one another, we help each other with our various needs, we have shared goals for our future, etc. We very much care for each other.

There is really nothing lacking with our relationship or with him as a person, and I often feel that I could never have even close to the same connection with him that I have with anyone else. I know this sounds contradictory, but I consider our relationship the best part of my life and the most significant and valuable part of my future. Ultimately I love him because of how wonderfully we connect, but some of his great features are his thoughtfulness, his smartness (academically but more so analytically), his passion for the things he cares about, his deep love for learning, his trustworthiness, the safety and comfort I feel with him, and his understanding and empathy for others.

Also potentially relevant:

I hate to use these descriptors, but I have always been the more needy/clingy partner. Now that we spend every night together, this has very much subsided. I have always been more inclined to desire more attention and love and time together, often excessively, and that is something that has caused some of our tension and difficult times. I have struggled with over-attachment issues. The divorce of my parents caused a long chain of negative events for me and my perception of myself/relationships. Before him, I had a history of being with guys who wanted me purely sexually, or who were manipulative in some way or another. As a 14 year old, for example, I had a relationship with a man in his early 20s. Very disturbing to look back on. Those were troubling times that my current partner has been incredibly understanding and attentive towards.
He has struggled with connecting with his own emotions and feeling what he feels that everyone else would be experiencing if they were in his position. He often feels apathetic towards situations regular people might feel overwhelmed with emotion in. Another significant element of his character is that he is deeply driven by rationality. Data compels him. He is incredibly interested in bettering the world, and his interest arises almost entirely from his philosophical views that are largely detached from an emotional drive. Despite this, he is a wonderful listener and empathizer. People find him very comforting in times of need and when seeking advice.


First affair
Met guy at gym, flirted in person and over text some, though nothing did, something could have happened. Ended when he moved and I got annoyed at him over being cocky.

Second Affair
Coworker who was a sweet guy gave me a lot of attention, always being super attentive and complimentary. I liked our conversations and how he made me feel, but wasn’t sexually attracted to him. He wanted me to break up with my boyfriend to date him but I was adamant to him I would never do that and only saw a future with my boyfriend. Our EA continued for several months until feeling guilty I trickle-truth revealed details to my boyfriend. I ended things with AP immediately after that and worked with my boyfriend on improving communication and understanding why it happened, I genuinely thought I would never do it again.

In order to get all of the details, my partner was very careful when listening to not react strongly so that I would feel comfortable telling him everything. It took about 8 times of him asking "Is that everything?" And me saying "yes" until I finally told him actually everything about the affair. I think our calm-ish handling of that failed to imbue in me the severity of what I’d done, and reflecting I think we were too confident we could prevent it happening again without doing much (perhaps 20 hours of intensive evaluative conversation and planning) to address the root cause.

Third Affair
Another coworker, but this one in a much higher position of power than me (and much older). We began chatting platonically, but started texting more and more. I was very attracted to him and eagerly obliged when he asked me to a very fancy dinner. He wanted to be more sexual, I was actually very repeatedly resistant at first to doing this, thinking that the EA wasn’t that bad so long as we didn’t cross that line. When we finally had sex, I felt too far in to back out, and I was still enjoying it. The affair degraded into sexting, eventually becoming pretty unengaging. Still, up until my boyfriend confronting me I was trying to initiate sexual relations with the AP.

After discovering that something had been going on, my partner told me he would give me one chance to come clean by writing everything down or that would be the last time he’d talk to me. It’s difficult to describe how dramatic and serious the situation was but after being in shock momentarily I wrote everything I could think of, about this affair and about the first one I never mentioned. That night I felt the most intense emotions I’ve ever felt.

Aftermath

It has now been several weeks since the confrontation. The first week was incredibly intense emotionally for both of us. We spent nearly every moment that we were home talking about it, often crying. Some of these moments together were the most vulnerable and raw moments I had ever felt with him. Many were the most distressing. I feel passionately committed now to never cheating again, and even the thought of it to me in this moment is repulsive. However, I am fully aware that these powerful emotions will eventually fade and that it is critical to invest in ensuring that this never happens again, such as through the items that I mentioned above (therapy, posting here, reading books on the topic, phone monitoring, etc). I understand that cheating again would be the definite end of our relationship. By posting here I am hoping to gain any other recommendations for how to ensure my future of commitment to him alone, and any other insights that those who have been through this have for our situation. So much of the information on here has been incredibly valuable for my partner in making him feel not alone in his grief and trauma, and we are both grateful that this community of people has come together on here. Please let me know any thoughts you have that might be useful for me/us. Thank you so much for reading all of this, I apologize for the length!

posts: 1   ·   registered: Nov. 9th, 2021   ·   location: TX
id 8697702
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DaddyDom ( member #56960) posted at 3:40 PM on Tuesday, November 9th, 2021

I would suggest asking the mods to move this to the Wayward forum, and also perhaps adding a "stop sign" so that only WS's can respond for now.

Welcome to SI, it is good that you are here and asking for help. Coming in the door as a WS can be... tough. But we're here to help, so please take criticism as care. :)

until two weeks ago he discovered and confronted me about an SA I had been engaging in for several months. He planned to break up with me but seeing my genuine remorse and forthcoming with all details

Think about this a little bit. In the same sentence, you are telling us how you lied for months (after a prior affair no less), and then suggest that you are genuinely remorseful and forthcoming. Both cannot be true. You will need to be able to "see your real self" before you can address the infidelity. In the 4 years you have been together (not even married yet) you've managed to cheat on him 3 times, averaging an affair a year at this point. I don't see how your relationship with your partner can move forward in any meaningful way when you are clearly not a safe partner.

I would strongly suggest you do some deep soul searching and try to figure out what need you are trying to fill by having these affairs? What did these other men offer your life that you found attractive? Why did you not have enough respect for yourself and your partner to NOT cheat? Until you can answer that question, and take steps to prevent it from happening in the future, then you can't really move forward. DO you have a therapist you are seeing? If not, are you willing to get one?

Me: WS
BS: ISurvivedSoFar
D-Day Nov '16
Status: Reconciling
"I am floored by the amount of grace and love she has shown me in choosing to stay and fight for our marriage. I took everything from her, and yet she chose to forgive me."

posts: 1176   ·   registered: Jan. 18th, 2017   ·   location: Marblehead, MA
id 8697712
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asc1226 ( member #75363) posted at 4:49 PM on Tuesday, November 9th, 2021

My current plans involve posting here, therapy in a month once my schedule allows, reading How to Help your spouse heal from an affair (any other recs?)

Your schedule apparently allowed plenty of time to start affairs at work, I suggest you think about your priorities. Vet your therapist carefully on their views on infidelity. Anyone hawking unmet needs and validation for your affairs is only going to encourage further damage to your relationship.

You may want to read Cheating in a Nutshell. It will give you some idea of the trauma you’ve inflicted on your boyfriend and some idea of how long and difficult his healing path will be. Might not want to let him read it, it’s not very reconciliation friendly from the betrayed partners viewpoint.

Good luck.

ETA Also Not Just Friends by Shirley Glass.

[This message edited by asc1226 at 10:50 AM, November 9th (Tuesday)]

I make edits, words is hard

posts: 391   ·   registered: Sep. 7th, 2020
id 8697728
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HellFire ( member #59305) posted at 5:16 PM on Tuesday, November 9th, 2021

Your title says you "fell" into your affairs. That is a lie. You made several choices to engage in infidelity. You didn't fall into anything.

posts: 3780   ·   registered: Jun. 20th, 2017   ·   location: The Midwest
id 8697735
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SI Staff ( Moderator #10) posted at 5:18 PM on Tuesday, November 9th, 2021

  Moving to Wayward Side

posts: 10000   ·   registered: May. 30th, 2002
id 8697736
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denwickdroylsden ( new member #51744) posted at 12:35 PM on Wednesday, November 10th, 2021

Multiple times, you engaged in A. Question is, why? No amount of book reading, therapy, self flagellation, vows to reform, etc., are going to make any difference until you can honestly answer the question Why. There are people (and I am one of them) who gravitate to A because the desire to do so is deep seated and innate. Have the best partner ever, best life circumstances ever, best everything ever, yet take that step and cross that line, play with dynamite and blow up their lives-- why? Maybe just because we want to, for deep seated reasons that we will never understand and therefore can never be 100% successful at correcting.

I know how bleak this sounds but it is out of personal bitter experience. I white-knuckle on a daily basis to stop myself from engaging in those behaviors again.

Good luck.

Me: WH frequent flyer
Now on straight and narrow
"What's the secret of a long term marriage?" Amnesia.

posts: 21   ·   registered: Feb. 9th, 2016
id 8697841
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etaoin ( member #33270) posted at 3:35 AM on Friday, November 12th, 2021

I dunno. It sounds like you are with a nice trusting partner, but you have a need for other guy's attention. After two EAs one would think you would have realized this is bad for any relationship, then you go and fuck another guy. You really think this BF is what you want? Why?

You can do anything while single, so maybe that is where you need to be until you decide to settle down.

You sure you are up for this? Doing something because you feel guilty is not a good thing for success.

Again, have you taken a long look in the mirror? You sure you want a relationship with this guy? Why? It sure looks like you have a mentality of a single person.

posts: 276   ·   registered: Sep. 3rd, 2011
id 8698028
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